I’m here today to talk about those Carlton Mid ads. Those damn Carlton Mid ads. My God, I hate them so much. I hate them for what they say about beer drinkers and I hate them for what they say about men.
The Carlton Mid ads have long been about guys trying to get away from the womenfolk and drink beer with their mates. Sometimes there is an element of humour in them. Such as in this ‘‘I Speak Woman’’ ad.
But then things got a little bit nasty with the Woman Whisperer follow-up, in which the wife is portrayed as a hard-faced harpy who tells her husband that they’re leaving the pub seemingly minutes after arriving. He hangs his head in disappointment until the arrival of the Woman Whisperer, who treats the wife like a horse.
That brings us to the trio of Carlton Mid ads that I hate to high heaven. It’s those ads where a bunch of mates take their wives on holidays and then pretend to be amazed when they all end up at the same place. Then the mates all go off for a beer.
Here’s the first ad in the series.
Now, Mick and his dopey mates could have stayed home and gone to the bar on a Friday night. But instead they come up with a cunning plan. And one with no, I repeat, no homosexual subtext.
Mick: Guys, you know what we should do – go on holidays together.
Dennis: That’s a great idea. But I don’t know if my wife will let me.
Roger: Mine neither, aye.
Mick: Got it all sorted. We tell them it’s a romantic weekend away and then, once we get there, we’ll all bring them to the pool and pretend as though it’s a complete surprise that we’re all here.
Ken: And then we go to the bar?
Dennis: Yes, Ken, and then we’ll go to the bar.
Roger: You’re a bloody genius, Mick. They won’t suspect a thing.
Mick: I know mate. Cause men are so much more cleverer than women.
Okay, so these four guys have all brought their wives along in an elaborate ruse to spend time together. Without them. Hello, gay subtext.
Ken: Gay? I’m not a poof – I drink beer and have the hottest wife out of all my mates. You’re a poof. You big wine-drinking poof.
Whatever. I frigging hate the way this ad portrays men – and am gobsmacked that this appears to be the way CUB sees its Carlton Mid customers. As cases of arrested development who dislike their partners so much that they will prefer to spend more time with their friends than the females who show extraordinary patience for putting up with their crap.
Because, hey, aren’t we all like this, men? Aren’t we all mysognists deep, deep down who want nothing more than to run from women wherever possible? No, of course we’re bloody not. Yet these ads make a habit of showing men in exactly that light.
Which brings me to the second ad in the trilogy.
Yep, Mick’s wife – who presumably has read him the riot act in between the last ad and this one – is looking forward to a romantic dinner. Without any of Mick’s dopey mates. Umm, sorry but you should know Mick was never going to let that happen.
It turns out his mates have taken the rooms on either side of them. Rooms with adjoining doors. Rooms that are a mirror image of each other. And then Roger makes a remark reeking of gayness ‘‘it’s like we’re sleeping in the same bed’’. Am I reading too much into these ads? Maybe, but we’ve gone this far, might as well keep going.
To me that remark of Roge’s is so strange I can only think some ‘‘creative’’ at the ad agency threw it in as a subtle gay joke. Because, as is already clear, Roge and his mates would much rather spend time with each other than a woman.
Then the wife – who curiously is never named in the ads – gives Mick an exasperated look which says ‘‘I told you I wouldn’t put up with this from you again’’. And then the guys somehow end up at the bar again.
While they booze on, we see the Carlton Mid tagline ‘‘Stay a little longer’’, which is obviously directed at the guys. If it was directed at the wife it’d read ‘‘Leave, your husband is a moron”.
As an aside why are these guys drinking a mid-strength beer that’s 3.5 per cent? If you’re going to ruin a romantic getaway with your other half and turn it into a pissfest with your mates, why aren’t you drinking full-strength beer? Because it’s not as if choosing not to get shitfaced will make your wife think you’re okay. She already thinks you’re an idiot and it staggers some of us as to why she hasn’t dumped your arse a long time ago. You’re already in enough trouble, choosing mid-strength beer isn’t going to help you.
Now we have the final ad, the one that is meant to have a bit of a sting in the tail.
Right at the start we see how stupid Mick is because he actually thinks his wife and those of his mates have no idea what they’ve done. Yeah, Mick, you’ve pulled off the con of the century – but it shouldn’t have been too hard because women are pretty dumb, aren’t they, aye?
Then there’s the sting – Mick is paying for ignoring his wife because she’s flirting with the surfing teacher. We’re supposed to feel as though Mick has got a bit of comeuppance for being a jerk but for me, that ad came along far too late. We’d spent yonks seeing Mick and his moronic mates be morons for ages in those first two ads that this third ad feels like a bit of last-minute ledger squaring. Like the ad makers laid the “moron” on with a trowel and are trying to make up for it.
And then Mick chooses leave the surfing instructor to crack onto his wife, instead turning to his mates and talk about golf. What a moron.
The strong message I take from these ads? That Carlton Mid is for immature dropkicks who prefer the company of men because they won’t catch girl germs. Not such a great advertising slogan there, is it?